As a family living on a single “blue collar” income, we usually receive a substantial refund during tax time each year. Maybe it’s that way for you too. I admit it’s easy to “blow it all” on frivolous pleasures, but this year we are really concentrating on how to best be good stewards of this yearly blessing. After all, using this money wisely can make things a lot easier throughout the rest of the year instead of just being a temporary indulgence.
While I am by no means a financial expert, here are some common sense suggestions for getting the most out of that refund:
1. Give it back. No, not to the IRS, but to God. He does after all own the cattle on a thousand hills and it all belongs to Him. Whether you believe in tithing or “giving as you have prospered” (1 Corinthians 16:2), don’t forget to give God the glory and contribute to His work. Give one lump sum or set it aside to spread it out throughout the year and as special needs arise. Give solely to your church or contribute to favorite ministries/charities such as Samaritan’s Purse.
2. Make it a year’s worth. Pay insurance, health and/or auto, premiums a year in advance.( Proverbs 27:12)
That way you don’t have to worry about it until time for the next year’s refund. You usually receive a discount when done this way as well.
3. Invest it or save it, where you’ll gain some interest. Purchase an annuity. If you are brave, try out the stock market. However, I think Jesus teaches us that just “burying it” without a return or having nothing to show for it, is displeasing to God (Matthew 25:14-30).
4. While keeping #3 in mind, we also need to be mindful of the future. Of course we rely upon God for everything-we even owe the air we breathe to Him-but He also expects us to deal in wisdom ( Proverbs 21:5). Set some aside for a rainy day-unexpected car repairs, lay-offs and the like.(Proverbs 13:6)
5. Home Matters. Catch up on those home repairs you’ve been putting off for whatever reason. This year we are completely redoing Beauty’s bedroom: new paint, bedding and a much needed new flooring. We are also repapering the hall and painting the kitchen.
6. Begin a Christmas fund. We all know how stressful it can be that time of year.
7. Purchase that which is beneficial to the entire family. A couple years ago we bought a lap top. This year we are purchasing a deep freezer.
8.Whittle away at or eliminate extra debt (debt that goes beyond the typical cost of living). Pay off that credit card or medical bill that sucks you dry each month. (Proverbs 22:7)
9. Invest in some fun. We always take a few days to go to Pigeon Forge, TN. The kids get to swim, Dad comes within spitting distance of white tail deer at Cades Cove and I get to take a break from cooking three meals a day! We go during the off season, so motel rates are super cheap and the traffic is minimal.
These are just a few of my suggestions, what do you do with your money? Any other tips/advice?